The replacement of the victim with an inanimate object such as a stone allows to engage in a direct confrontation with the practice and problem of violence.
The implementation of humour might help.
This approach might be also applied to my personal research.
In a sense, this personal research on violence intends to do exactly that.
Comparable to Francis Bacon’s claim that his paintings are depictions of the abstract, spectral ‘Real’ that determines what goes on in social reality.
Again, the challenge of the status quo.
On masks. Find or make a mask that can represent Charity.
Sacrifice as the solution to a previous crisis that endangered the stability of the community.
Walter Benjamin’s mythic violence combined with Rene’ Girard’s concept of myth at the basis of sacrificial violence.
This can be applied to performances in art as well, where the creative act of making an artwork, usually private, is shamelessly displayed to an observing public.
The opposite is true in my claim: when a marble block is carved by alternative means such as firearms and acid and much more, the perception is that a terrible violence is being done to the block, while when this is carved with tradition tools, i.e. hammer and chisel, a romantic view of the sculptor in his studio is recalled. While the latter practice discloses a far more pathological aggressiveness.
Or violence-less stone carving. We get the desired result without having to resort to violent or aggressive means.
The artwork is the ultimate testimony of what we do and it will speak for our actions.
This relates to the reality of the necessary violence applied to a marble block in order to shape it. This perceived violent reality is diametrically opposite to the creative/destructive act, which belongs to the dimension of the Real. The sculpture is a mere object that stands for a higher truth.
The same can be claimed when we attribute specific universal qualities to stone, as transcending time, bearer of symbolic meanings, regardless of the beliefs that attributes them, common denominator to different beliefs of various cultures and their religion and so on. We impose a specific significance to the stone that it does not belong to its reality. It belongs to our reality. When we study religious artefacts of distant civilisations, we do not suddenly start believing in them as well. We say: ’they used to believe that…’. See later chapter on beliefs functioning at ‘distance’.
When Zizek talks about extracting gold from its natural texture I assume he is referring to its essence as a stone in the linguistical context. The words he uses though also refer to the action of literally mining the metal from nature. Thus, the gold, or any other material, duffers a double violence, a physical one, being extracted from its natural environment and a linguistical one, being attributed characteristics that are alien to its essence.
Disturbing the status quo. Violence is traced back to desire.
Limited desire equals, self-disciplined control in stone carving. The creative act is controlled, and reason sets healthy limits. The stone carving stops at stops at a specific point, resulting in a finite object, a well-defined sculpture which is in harmony with the ‘art history’ world. (Aristotelian)
Infinite desire, like a death driven pathological perversion, equals an uncontrolled creative/destructive force. The stone carving process goes on until nothing is left of the original stone. It is the excess.
Refer to the discussion with Philippe Van Cauteren about the braking of a cup.
Entropy, decay, revolutions, rebellions etc. are perceived as violent as they disrupt the status quo of everyday existence. But all attempts to stop or delay these processes are the highest form of violence.
As opposed to machines, which do not desire.
Language as a border marker.
Change of status quo.
Challenging and upsetting the status quo. The violent one is also described as the creative one. This might be a perfect description of the artist’s role.
The destruction of the previous status quo and the imposition of a new one.
How is the desperate action of a hopeless artist who is calling for attention any different than this?
Artists who are excluded from the artistic world often resort to violent, disruptive actions to get attention. In a later stage, these revolutionary gestures become iconic and represent pivotal moments in an artist’s career.
An exact description of the sensational character of ground-breaking works of art. In this sense, they usually are violent. They disrupt the accepted norm and call for attention. Therefore, they need to be scandalous.
To disrupt the system for the sale of it. To see if someone is paying attention. Do children do the same when they destroy stuff? They do so in order to get the attention of the parents?
Exactly like children do because they are indeed ‘wordless’.
See René Girard’s ‘Violence and the Sacred’.
Recalls the infamous card game ‘Durak’, where there is not a winner but a looser.
Can iconoclastic practices be traced to this reasoning too? ‘Since I don’t have a god, you are not allowed to have yours’.
Exact dynamics between the devotion of sacred artefacts and the desire of others to destroy them. Also interesting with regard to the opposed behaviours revolving around ‘sacred’ objects within the realms of religion and art. See ‘Touch, Don’t touch’.
Is the artist’s aggressive behavior towards a stone also to be considered a pathological condition regardless of the ‘artistic’ concept and intentions of the performer?
Ramses’ passport. Even when dead and rendered objects, people (mummies) need a passport.
A poor country’s resources travel easily around the globe, but it’s people can’t (Congo).
A new kind of invisible, objective, structural borders.
Compare to ancient civilizations and their exile methods. People were banned from the city and forced to live outside the city walls. People beyond the wall were wild, uncivilized, foreign, alien.
The solution is not to ‘tear down the walls and let them all in’. The only true solution is to tear down the true wall, not the Immigration Department one, but the socio-economic one: to change society so that people will no longer desperately try to escape their own world.
A pathological reaction to other deeper lying issues. As the aggression that drives the making of an artwork is not pointed to the artwork itself, but it is a symptom of more profound issues. My violence is not aimed at the stone, but it is channelled through it in a cathartic mode. As in sacrifice rituals, the scapegoat is a representative of other ails.
Thus violence justified by a fake sense of good intended ideology.
What is the destruction of an image (iconoclasm) compared to its founding?
The ambiguity of borders (also imaginary ones) is the reason for so much violence.
Borders = contracts = peace treaty.
Also valid in art. Only a radical gesture that appears ‘impossible’ withing the existing coordinates will realistically do the job of shaking the current mainstream of the art world (and sculpture).
Can also be applied to violence and art: If the violence is aimed at people, then I am against it. But if in the form of an applied force to a block of marble in order to reshape it according to a preconceived artistic concept, then I am in favor.
This is the common claim and strategy prophesized by self-help and motivational speaker: ‘Don’t focus on and blame the negative people around you, work on yourself.’ It might be the only viable solution in order to maintain an artistic integrity in a world dominated by cheap sensation, shiny glamour and media frenzy.
Playing the victim card is not a sustainable tactic.
Sacrifice is an exercise in letting go. As is the exercise of destruction of previously achieved material milestones. Sculptures will eventually disintegrate, so why do not speed up the process (on own work) in order to free oneself from previously achieved honours and labels which really function as limitative burdens.
Learn to let go. The two-state solution of King Solomon’s judgement makes me think of the split Canaletto in Havana and the UK. Make sculpture, split in half and donate to two (preferably enemy) institutions.
Carve the following: ‘Love Art, and do as you please’. The love for art, as this is an undefinable/ungraspable concept close to that of God, can push someone to do ‘anything for art’. Hence the questioning of the subtle borders between art and real life. What is allowed in one realm is often criminalized or frowned upon in the other. Goes back to the idea of ‘freedom of choice/responsibility’ which is merely a forced choice dictated by the reigning community and its trends.
See the argument for a small identity.
See Piero Manzoni’s writing: ‘Per l’artista si tratta di una immersione cosciente in sé stesso. per cui superato ciò che è individuale e contingente egli affonda fino a giungere al vivo germe dell’umana totalità… È ovvio infatti ciò che a prima vista può sembrare paradossale: cioè che quanto più ci immergiamo in noi stessi, tanto più siamo vicini al germe della nostra totalità, tanto più siamo vicini al germe della totalità di tutti gli uomini.’ Prelegomeni ad un’attività artistica, 1957.
This is why in the Western world we have ethnic museums, apparently depicting a static ‘Other’ civilisation, whereas the Western is perceived to evolve and have its own history.
Lacking a true connection with either Iraq, Italy, the Netherlands or Belgium, I feel compelled to address an abstract universality.
In this last sentence lies for me the essential, all encompassing, overarching definition/essence of violence: the disrupting of a preceding/pre-existing condition (the status quo or the zero level).
Use own personal experience to address universal issues. See Piero Manzoni again.
I can be a truly universal man exactly because I can’t find a clear identity in one specific country. And one can be a universal artist exactly because one can’t withdraw to one specific discipline.
One would add noise to the equation.
Exactly my attempt. Not to change the explicit, formal appearance of sculpture, but to expose the hidden practice necessary to accomplish it. i.e. the unavoidable destructive, violent act. The artist and the artwork are the two ‘voices’, the two ‘scenes’ that the public is conscious of. The third missing link, the intermediate meta-level, the obscene virtual supplement is the creative act.
Power generates its own excess which it must secretly annihilate. Apocalypse Now.